A Coaster train crosses the lagoon south of Del Mar. Photo courtesy North County Transit District
A Coaster train crosses the lagoon south of Del Mar. Photo courtesy North County Transit District

Area transit officials Wednesday welcomed news of $82 million in state funding to improve the coastal rail corridor in San Diego County.

The money is part of $390 million in cap-and-trade funds distributed by the California State Transportation Agency to 14 projects around the state. The grant for North County rail improvements will be managed by the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency, known as LOSSAN.

“The LOSSAN rail corridor is critical to the movement of people and goods from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara to Los Angeles and San Diego,” said CalSTA Secretary Brian Kelly. “We are pleased to support investments that will make passenger rail a more attractive travel alternative and help reduce congestion and GHG emissions on parallel highways.”

Projects include installing 2.6 miles of double tracking, new bridges and signal improvements in San Diego County; a new bridge and double tracking over the San Diego River; and upgrades to a train station at Poinsettia Lane in Carlsbad that’s used by the North County Transit District’s Coaster train.

The money will also be used to lease 31 new train cars and conduct a comprehensive study on integrating rail services along the 351-mile corridor, according to LOSSAN.

“We appreciate CalSTA’s support of this program, which will allow much- needed improvements to the second-busiest intercity passenger rail corridor in the nation,” said LOSSAN Chairman David Golonski. “This program of projects will result in more frequent and integrated passenger rail service, improved on- time performance and safety, and a better overall passenger experience.”

Some other projects funded by CalSTA were a planned extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system to San Jose, and an expansion of capacity at Union Station in Los Angeles.

—City News Service